WESG confirms that Kuku is banned from entering Chongqing city
Following a brief suspension, Filipino player Carlo “Kuku” Palad returned to TNC Predator active squad on the 1st of February. However, it seems that there is more drama to the Kuku situation as WESG has now announced he will be unable to play at Chongqing. The 22-year-old player was banned by the city government and will not be allowed to enter the city for the WESG Finals. The finals of the $890,000 WESG 2018 tournament is scheduled to take place in Chongqing from 7th to 10th of March 2019.
In an exclusive comment to Cybersport.ru; WESG has confirmed that Kuku will not play in the Grand finals.
Following requests to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Public Security in Chongqing, we regret to inform you that Kuku is not allowed to enter Chongqing to participate in the WESG in accordance with the decision of the city government.
As the tournament organizer, WESG will follow the instructions of the local government. This is the final decision.
Kuku’s ban – A direct contradiction to Valve’s statement
On the 3rd of December 2018, Valve issued a ban to Kuku from the Chongqing Major 2019. They clearly stated in the blog post that the Chinese government did not ban Kuku. They further moved ahead with their own ban on the player in addition to a DPC points penalty for the team. The misrepresentation by the team and its subsequent actions following communication with Valve were the reasons for the penalty.
With Kuku banned by the Chongqing city government, it puts Valve in a difficult spot. They had decided to ban Kuku and fine TNC their DPC points due to their apparent cover-up of the situation. With most of these statements and rumours coming true, will Valve step up and implement changes to reflect the new facts?
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Valve’s Statement banning Kuku and punishing TNC
Valve released an official statement on the Dota 2 Blog page on December 3. They punished Kuku as well as TNC for their mistakes. At the same time Valve confirmed that the Chinese government did not ban Kuku.
We’ve been following the recent situation regarding TNC and the Chongqing Major and how it has unfolded. First, for clarification, Kuku is not banned by the Chinese government. While there is a lot of anxiety around his attendance and problems it may create, we do not believe his presence creates a real security threat.
Our view on the situation is that responsibility resides with teams to handle these types of issues professionally. When they fail to do so, we will step in. While it is one thing to make a mistake and apologize, it is quite another thing for the team to lie about it or try to create cover for an individual player. TNC has mishandled the situation on multiple occasions, making the situation much worse than it needed to be.
….Players and teams will make mistakes in the future, and they should accept responsibility for them. We want there to be opportunities to learn from their errors, but taking responsibility doesn’t mean making mistakes don’t come with a cost. Covering up the situation is not an acceptable approach to the problem, and demonstrates poor decision making from TNC that requires accountability. In addition to being required to replace Kuku, we will also be docking 20% of TNC’s current DPC points. The player restriction does not affect future tournaments.
The community uproar over Valve’s ‘lies’ & Valve’s perspective
Following the publication of the WESG statement, the Dota 2 community has been in an uproar over Valve’s choice to lie. There are calls to action even going to the extent of moving TI9 out of Shanghai.
However, a Valve employee did post a Reddit comment providing light on the situation. At the time of Valve banning Kuku, they had no information about the city ban.
The information that was provided to us at the time was that the local officials expressed significant concerns about security and the social media unrest, but there was no official player ban communicated to us and discussions were still open on ways to handle it or improve the situation. We weren’t as concerned about the safety aspect at the time, primarily because we’ve had experience working through a variety of concerns that local officials have had in the past, and there were ways to solve for these specific concerns. However, we didn’t pursue those options because we ultimately felt that it was inappropriate for Kuku to attend given how the team tried to cover up the apology. We haven’t heard anything since then, so it’s possible that the situation has changed for Chongqing, but we don’t anticipate any problems for Shanghai.
The discussions regarding the situation were still an ongoing process in December. Things have changed since then and Kuku cannot enter the city. It is a city government decision and it should only affect his entry into the city. For now, it does not seem to be directly affecting his entry into Shanghai for TI9.
Valve might not take any action for Kuku’s WESG ban
We might see Valve deciding to maintain radio silence on this topic, especially since they have already burnt themselves once. Valve is under no compulsion to release an official statement on the WESG ban. However, with the situation definitely moving out of control, Valve will have to release a public statement. We hope that Valve decides to release a statement earlier than waiting for several weeks like they did the last time around.
Valve has avoided taking direct confrontational action with the Chinese government. It is not without reason, as China is a huge market for Dota 2. Recently Valve released a specialised version of their Steam Gaming client. Valve is at a crossroads as they will host their biggest esports event later in the year. The International 2019 will take place in Shanghai 2019. Making public statements berating the Chinese government would definitely put Valve in the wrong eyes of the Chinese government.
However, they cannot allow such drastic decisions by the Chinese government. It is unacceptable to ban a player’s entry into the city based on something said in a game. It is time for Valve to express their opinions, either to the Chinese government or via a public statement. We cannot let government officials determine the participation in premier Dota 2 events.
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